Paramore is back without vengeance

Paramore releases their sixth studio album, ‘This is Why’

Lauren Hernandez, Staff Writer

Rating: 3.5 stars

After five years, three-piece rock band Paramore has finally released their sixth studio album, “This is Why.” This album is not pop-punk’s long-awaited revival, nor is it Paramore’s magnum opus, but it is worth the listen. Coming in at a snappy 36 minutes, “This is Why” is a perfect listen for that sunny day when you are walking your cat, dog or ferret and are searching for something new and fun to jam out to. 

Do not let the first track, or even the first half of this album, impair your judgment too much. Paramore is simply maturing, and their sound is evolving with them, even if it took them the first four tracks to prove this. 

The opening song, “This is Why,” is okay. Reminiscent of lead singer Haley Williams’ solo album “Petals for Armor,” which was released during Paramore’s five-year hiatus, this track begins with a murmuring and intricate instrumental that builds up to a powerful, though unoriginal, chorus. Even though this song missed its mark, you can not deny that it is catchy and now this is the track that has remained in my head for days. 

The next three tracks continue to sound like a three-piece band, and before I hear you say, “Well, they are a three-piece band,” or “What about their lineup changes?” It makes no difference. This is 2023, and the ability to make songs sound fuller and deeper has never been easier. I am disappointed because these first four songs are not close to Paramore’s best, and though Williams’ vocals truly rock, they do not disguise these songs’ lack of emotion. If catchy radio hits were the goal with these tracks, maybe Paramore got what they wanted with their simple guitar, drum riffs and generic pop-punk sound, but I expected better. 

However, the album picks up from here because next up we have one of my favorite tracks, “Big Man, Little Dignity.” In all of the previous songs on “This is Why,” Paramore stripped back their sound and went for a more pop approach, similar to their 2017 album “After Laughter.” “Big Man, Little Dignity” finally showcases how mature Paramore can be. With simple drums and a rhythm guitar reminiscent of Interpol, along with some LCD Soundsystem-type synth moments, this song definitely showcases what Paramore has to offer for rock ‘n’ roll. 

We are over halfway through the album now and the tracks remain solid from here on out. “You First” is strong and good, great even. It sounds like something from MGMT or even The Killers, and it continues to draw inspiration from Paramore’s earlier work. “Figure 8” features some abstract and clashing guitar and drum rhythms that even out to more of a midwest emo-type sound, similar to that of Tigers Jaw or Tiny Moving Parts. 

After these solid tracks, Paramore probably realized they should calm down a little and add something more melancholy. “Liar” showcases a slower and more romantic vibe, encouraged by a lead guitar that sounds almost like a harp and some pretty fantastic drum fills. The lyrics of this track are strong too, with the chorus repeating the line, “Love is not an easy thing, but I’m not ashamed of it.” But despite these details, this song does not contribute anything new to the band’s discography. 

The final two songs of this 36-minute endeavor finally got my head banging, once again proving why Paramore will be remembered in musical history. These songs have a full, raw and almost ethereal sound. “Crave” finally features guitar with some heavy effects, similar to shoegaze and dream pop bands like Blue Smiley or even Men I Trust. “Thick Skull” ends the album on a high note. There is not much to say about this final track except that it rocks. These two songs are the culmination of everything Paramore has to offer. They combine Parmore’s entire discography with heavier and more mature components that are just sensational. 

“This is Why” is definitely an adventure. With quite a few lows and some tremendous highs, this album shows that Paramore can still rock while being inventive and experimental with their sound.